Vaillant supports UK’s first King’s Standard heating apprentices

In a pioneering move for the UK and in response to the increasing demand for more apprentices in this expanding sector, Vaillant supports the first-ever group of Low Carbon Heating Technician Apprentices (LCHTA) to be recognised with the King’s Standard.

Vaillant proudly supports the UK's first-ever group of heating apprentices to achieve the prestigious King's Standard accreditation, a landmark in advancing low carbon technologies.

By partnering with the local Derby College Group, where the students will be based, Vaillant has ensured that – for the first time – apprentices can take advantage of training with low carbon technology as its focus. Previously, the sector-specific apprenticeships have focused on traditional gas heating systems, with students required to complete additional learning to install equipment such as heat pumps.  

Vaillant is proud to invest in 10 full-time, employed apprentices throughout their 3-year course, supporting the UK government in meeting its targets of installing 600,000 heat pumps annually by 2028. The new apprentices will eventually graduate as Level 3 Low Carbon Heating Technicians.  

Getting to grips with the latest heat pump tech

In addition to the Level 3 Low Carbon Technologies qualification, where the LCHTA apprentices will get to grips with the latest heat pump and other low carbon technology essential for the role, they will also get a rounder view of working in the heating industry and how to conduct themselves in customer’s homes, to offer excellent customer experience and service. This includes additional qualifications and skills, such as plumbing, bricklaying, plastering, electrics and customer service, to ensure they are fully equipped to carry out quality work at every job.   

They will also benefit from experience gained from working across the Vaillant business to further their abilities and competencies as the course progresses. The second and third years will include on-the-job training with qualified heating engineers to provide further first-hand installation experience.  

Demonstrating the increased demand for low carbon heating technology and renewables training, these first successful 10 applicants, aged 16 – 19, were selected from more than 60 candidates around the Derbyshire and East Midlands area.

Each applicant impressed tutors and the heating manufacturer after their involvement in several interviews and assessment days held at the college and at Vaillant’s UK headquarters in Belper, Derbyshire. Although the first cohort includes younger installers, the new LCHTA is open to those of all ages keen to expand their knowledge or even switch careers.  

Overwhelmed by the passion shown by apprentices

Mark Wilkins, training and technologies director at Vaillant said: “Investing in young people and encouraging new entrants to the industry is paramount for the future of low carbon technologies. I was delighted to see such a huge interest in the Low Carbon Heating Technician Apprenticeship, and we have been overwhelmed with the amount of passion and drive that all applicants displayed.  

“It is also encouraging to see a diverse group of applicants – we are seeing a shift in the industry, historically being male dominant, so it is exciting to be part of these changes, building the future workforce. The industry is developing, and there’s a fantastic support network out there for those interested in pursuing a career; no matter your background – there are opportunities for everyone. This is just the beginning, and we’re looking forward to remaining invested in training up the future workforce of the heating industry”. 

Carol Dixon, director of employer partnerships at Derby College Group, added:  “We are thrilled to be working with Vaillant to roll out the first Low Carbon Heating Technician Apprenticeship at Derby College Group. A great deal of work has gone into getting the course ready for this first cohort, and we are delighted to be able to set these apprentices well on the way to a fulfilling career.

“As one of the largest heating manufacturers in the area, the support Vaillant has been able to provide to this group and in shaping the course will go a long way to ensuring installers of the future have low carbon systems well within their skill set. We very much look forward to continuing to prepare engineers of the future as part of this partnership for years to come.”  

This partnership with Derby College Group is just beginning, with more planned throughout 2024 and beyond to develop stronger low carbon opportunities for those entering the industry. It expects to see thousands trained in the coming years, from new entrants to experienced business owners, supporting a much-needed boost to those qualified to install new technologies, such as heat pumps.   

Developing a workforce for the future

The Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education (IfATE) recognised the course. It was developed by MCS (Microgeneration Certification Scheme) with support from employers across the low carbon heating sector, including MCS-certified contractors. It also forms part of the Green Apprenticeships holding the Kings Standard, launched to celebrate the coronation of His Majesty King Charles III.   

Ian Rippin, CEO of MCS said, “I’m delighted to see the enthusiasm for our Low Carbon Heating Technician Apprenticeship and that Vaillant has worked closely with their local College to enable access to the course.  

“We need to develop a workforce that is equipped to support homeowners in heating and decarbonising their homes. It is therefore critical that we have dedicated pathways to develop an army of renewable heating installers with certifiable skills who know how to design and fit these systems efficiently.”